TRAVEL THERE: BRAVING THE COLD FOR THE BRISCOE
New Museum in San Antonio is Worth the Visit, in the Hot or the Cold
I’ve chosen to call this vacation The South Texas Christmas Ramble, but I could also call it The Great Weather Betrayal. It was chilly as we wandered around The Pearl on our first night, but the next morning, as we stepped outside our hotel, La Mansion De Rio, to walk to The Briscoe, the wind was brutal and “chilly” doesn’t begin to describe the temperature. “Frigid” is closer, but still might be a few degrees warmer than we felt.
So, of course, this is the day I’d chosen for an on-foot tour of the Riverwalk. While planning the day’s activities, I’d mapped out a pleasant route along the River, but the wind chill factor demanded we take the most direct route possible and according to my map, that was street-side.
An Interesting Side-Step
On the corner next to our hotel, was St. Mary’s Cathedral. Bill suggested we pop in and see it, but I’m not sure whether he was really interested or he just wanted to get out of the cold. Whatever the case, I’m glad we did, because it was lovely. If you’re ever anywhere in the neighborhood it is worth the stop.
As we headed back into the cold, Bill asked how far we were walking and I answered, “Three or four blocks.” I wasn’t sure, because the map wasn’t clear about it. We went three or four blocks, then turned left and had a couple more blocks. We arrived almost frostbitten.
Inside The Briscoe Museum of Western Art
This museum was on my list of non-negotiables. I’m pretty flexible when it comes to some things, but there are always a few items on each vacation that cannot be missed. This time, it was The Briscoe, a brand-spanking new museum that just opened at the end of October 2013. It’s gotten rave reviews, so I was excited.
After getting tagged with the buffalo sticker above, we were directed to the top floor and work our way back down. Stepping off the elevator we walked into the nearest gallery, which was full of religious icons from the Spanish Colonial Era. The next gallery displayed some of the most beautiful saddles and spurs I’ve ever seen. Then we wandered into a gallery of military memorabilia.
By then, Mr. Bill was ready for a little break, so we sat down in the saddle and spur gallery where headphones were provided for listening to a little Western music. I specifically remember some Woody Guthrie and Kris Kristofferson. It was an excellent way to catch your breath. Also on the third floor are scenes from the early days of Texas, recreated with artifacts and careful reconstructions of the period.
I really enjoyed the third floor, especially the saddles and spurs, but my favorite was the second floor, because that’s where the art-pedal hit the museum-medal. There was a wide variety of genres, mediums and artists, but they were all related to the west. I was particularly moved by the Native American art, beautiful representations of the West’s first inhabitants.
Downstairs is one of the famous Wells Fargo Wagons, the stagecoach that tamed the West, as well as representations of more modern Western Art. From the first floor, you can look down on a teepee gracing the floor below, but you can’t go down there.
The gift shop was lovely, but I noticed it seemed to be directed at the younger generation. Or maybe it was directed at an older generation, grandma and grandpa, but one things for sure, Santa could have loaded his sleigh right there.
It was time to get back in the cold. If you go to San Antonio, don’t you dare miss The Briscoe. Be sure to come back here next week and we’ll go to lunch on the Riverwalk.